9 Buzzed-About Authors You’ll Want to Know Before Your Friends Do

updated May 3, 2019
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There’s nothing worse for a bookworm than hearing about a must-read debut, only to find you’re the 105th person on the waitlist at your local library. In the interest of keeping you, and your bookshelves, ahead of the curve, we’ve outlined some of 2018’s most-anticipated releases and debut authors so you can start requesting your holds now.

Hermione Hoby, Neon In Daylight

Set in a sweltering New York City summer before Hurricane Sandy, Hoby’s debut novel is catching attention of acclaimed writers like Ann Patchett and earning her comparisons to Joan Didion. The novel centers around three adults—a gorgeous, risk-taking nineteen year old Inez, a troubled, has-been author named Bill, and a twenty-something woman named Kate who flees to NYC from London to escape her tricky relationship and uncertain future.

Get it: Neon in Daylight, $12

Leila Slimani, The Perfect Nanny

We must admit, we’re a little late on Leila Slimani—she’s already taken over the book clubs of France. Now, translated into English, her dark novel about a perfect nanny gone wrong promises to be this year’s Gone Girl or Big Little Lies—equal parts mystery, scandal, and the secrets women are forced to keep.

Get it: The Perfect Nanny, $11

Jasmine Guillory, The Wedding Date

If you follow author Roxane Gay on Goodreads, and live for her honest book reviews, her feelings on Guillory’s debut probably caught your eye. Calling it one of the best books she’s read in a while, this romance novel promises to be the perfect beach read: rich, charming characters and a love story with substance. We recommend getting this one ASAP.

Get it: The Wedding Date, $12

Rhiannon Navin, Only Child

Following a devastating school shooting, first-grader Zach’s life is changed. Navin, a native of Germany, deftly narrates through Zach’s innocent eyes, and her timely debut will remind readers of Emma Donoghue’s Room as they watch Zach untangle his grief and shock and fear.

Get it: Only Child, $17

Mira T. Lee, Everything Here Is Beautiful

A story that tackles loss, mental health, and the strength of sisterhood, Lee’s first novel is already being hailed as one of the best debuts of 2018 (reminder: It’s only January). For those who love family sagas and stories that encompass multiple perspectives, Lee’s story will not disappoint.

Michelle Dean, Sharp: The Women Who Made an Art of Having an Opinion

For her first book, Dean takes an insightful look at some of the wisest and most influential women writers—including Nora Ephron, Joan Didion, Susan Sontag, and Dorothy Parker. Dean, an acclaimed critic and editor at the New Republic, creates nonfiction that is engaging, empowering, and insightful.

Rachel Lyon, Self Portrait With Boy

Lu, a photographer living in Brooklyn, takes a devastating photo that could hurt her personal life, yet earn her exposure and advance her career. Lyon’s first novel takes a deep look at the difficult choices artists make around their most powerful works, while also exploring the complexities of a female friendship founded on loss.

Get it: Self Portrait with Boy, $17

Imogen Hermes Gowar, The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock

Like The Perfect Nanny, London author Gowar is already making waves across the pond with her debut novel, but Americans will have to wait to receive their hardcover copy (it’s set to be released in September 2018). Until then, know that this story is captivating London critics with its mix of history (a changing London on the cusp of the 19th century) and fantasy (which you knew, because there are mermaids in the title). If you were a fan of 2017’s The Essex Serpent, you should definitely keep this one on your TBR list.

Curtis Sittenfeld, You Think It, I’ll Say It

Okay, so Sittenfeld isn’t new to the literary scene—she’s an accomplished bestselling author. But this is her first short story collection and it’s worth taking note: Reese Witherspoon just announced the upcoming compendium will be one of her first series adapted for Apple. Witherspoon’s production company, Hello Sunshine, is embarking on several TV show deals with the company, but this one has a leading lady that caught our eye: the hilarious SNL alum, Kristen Wiig. Sittenfeld’s book doesn’t come out until April, so get yourself on the waitlist and read some of her other notable novels, like Eligible or Sisterland, to kill time.